NPH Impacts the Education Landscape in Haiti
NPFS strives to build brighter futures for Haiti’s children through our education programs.
November 11, 2019 - Haiti
As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world, Haiti faces significant challenges. Since the earthquake of 2010, some 200,000 people remain displaced and improvements in clearing debris and repairing infrastructure are persistent problems. 80% of Haiti’s primary and secondary schools were destroyed in the earthquake.
With a population of nearly 11 million, about 60% live on less than $2 per day. Access to education is vital to ensure that at-risk Haitian children can improve their lives and enter the labor force. The education system in Haiti remains expensive and is in need of major improvements in oversight, access, and quality of instruction.
Economic constraints and an insecure home environment impact a student’s ability to study. On a daily basis, parents struggle to put food on the table, let alone pay for school tuition for their children. On top of that, political instability means strikes and demonstrations are frequent, leading prolonged school closures.
For NPH Haiti, known in French as Nos Petits Frères et Soeurs (NPFS), we strive to serve children from the poorest areas who have no access to education.
Complex Education System
The Haitian education system is complex. The education itself focuses on theory rather than practical study, which is largely due to the lack of resources and materials within the school. Therefore, teaching chemistry, geography, and physical science is blackboard-based, rather than conducting experiments with a hands-on approach.
According to the Haitian Constitution Right to Education Act of 1987, primary education is compulsory and free by law. All Haitian children have the right to attend nine years of primary education.
The Haiti Education System is structured as follows:
Pre-primary Education: (below age six) Not compulsory.
Primary Education (L’enseignement Fondamental): (from age six) Duration nine years divided into three cycles. Basic Education (L’ education de base) comprised of the first two cycles, both of which are free and compulsory by law. The first cycle lasts four years and the second cycle for two years.
The third cycle lasts three years. More than 80% of primary schools are non-public and managed by communities, religious organizations, or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); these schools often charge fees and have barriers to enrollment. In short, the primary school system is not 100% accessible for all children.
Secondary Education (L’enseignement Secondaire): (from age 15) Duration three to four years, consisting of General Education (Enseignement Général), Vocational Training (Enseignement Technologique et professionel) and Teacher Training College (Enseignement Pédagogique)
Higher Education (L’enseignement Supérieur): (from age 19) Duration three to five years with a Bachelor's Degree (Licence or Certificat´d´e etudes Superieures).
At NPFS, we built schools in response to the great need of providing education to children—not only those living in our home, but also in the communities. Prior to having an onsite school, our children would walk a considerable distance down a steep hill. For the 2018–2019 academic year, St. Helene School had 880 students enrolled in its programs.
Our onsite school, St. Helene, in Kenscoff, has 22 equipped classrooms for grades 1-9 serving children ages 5-17. Just over two years ago, we began offering secondary education classes with grade 10, which mostly consisted of children from the community. For children living in the NPH home, however, beyond grade 9 they attend a school outside the St. Helene campus in order to gain real-life experience as part of our Don Bosco program.
EMAL (Ecole Mixte Anges de Lumiere) originally began in response to the 2010 earthquake. We opened schools amid large communities of displaced people, where classes took place in a large tent. After several severe wind and rainstorms, holding classes became more complicated and we realized it was crucial to build a permanent school.
In 2012 we opened a primary school located behind Father Wasson Angels of Light (FWAL). For the 2018–2019 academic year, EMAL had 768 students enrolled.
Don Bosco is our higher education program in Tabarre, which is for students who graduated from 9th grade at St. Helene. We have a number of students who used to live with us on-site at Villa Don Bosco, which is now shutdown, and some of those children now live at the St. Louis home, and we continue to support the rest through our external program. We enrolled 443 students in several schools this year surrounding they city.
Although we have no official workshop program, we have a strong relationship with St. Luke’s vocational school, as well as other vocational schools in Port-au-Prince, which is also attended by some of our external Don Bosco students. Students have the opportunity learn about mechanics, auxiliary nursing, electrical, and medical technician etc... We actually enrolled 39 students this year in vocational workshop.
The University Program officially began March 2013, although NPH had been supporting university students for many years prior. One of the drivers to develop a formal program was witnessing the determination exhibited by students committed to follow their passions in their chosen field of study in order to create a better Haiti for themselves and others. About 100 students attend university thanks to NPH.
In Haiti most children with disabilities are abandoned due to societal stigma and the scarcity of services available to families to care for children with special needs. As a result, NPH Haiti opened Kay Germaine in 2008, a therapy center and school for special needs children that currently has 91 students.
NPH Haiti strives to bridge the social divide, which impacts whether a child receives an education. Those without money have few opportunities in life to succeed economically and professionally. By providing an education, we enable our children to dream and to one day build a better future for themselves and their families.
Interested in learning more about programs at NPH Haiti? Visit nph.org.